CBD for Pain
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol which is one of several naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Out of the various cannabinoids, it has the greatest effect on the body across a multitude of functions (like decreasing anxiety and relieving pain). Since it is not the same as THC, the active cannabinoid in cannabis, it will not get you “high”. Some CBD products can combine these various cannabinoids as they act synergistically to provide better results than a single cannabinoid alone. When this is done, the products are called Full Spectrum, meaning it utilizes all of the cannabinoids together for optimal benefit for the user.
How Does CBD Help With Pain?
Research shows that CBD products can help with pain a few different ways; through the endocannabinoid system, effecting inflammation, and by changing your normal pain response. In fact, a report published in the Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience has shown that cannabinoids can help reduce pain, inflammation, anxiety and supplement the symptoms of multiple other diseases like multiple sclerosis, cancer and many others.1
The Endocannabinoid system is a network of molecules and receptors spread throughout our entire body that help regulate our immune system, appetite, sleep patterns, pain sensation, mood and memory. CBD products can help elevate your body’s natural levels of the 2 major pain-relieving endocannabinoids: anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoglglycerol). While anandamide works solely on receptors in the brain, 2-AG will also work on receptors throughout the rest of the body.
While inflammation is a naturally occurring process in the body, too much can lead to pain. Under normal conditions, cells of the immune system patrol the body, on alert for any intruders, such as bacteria. During a bacterial infection, immune cells detect the presence of bacteria and then release a variety of molecules to help mount a defensive attack. These signals include pro-inflammatory molecules that help recruit more immune cells to the site of infection. Endocannabinoids also get released, and likely help regulate the magnitude and extent of this inflammatory response. The benefit of CBD is that it is able to stop or limit pro-inflammatory signals within the body to alleviate pain, but not affect the ability to heal.
CBD Can Help Change the Pain Response
We have numerous receptors in our bodies that deal with pain. Under normal circumstances, a given brain cell (neuron) will get just the right amount of input from the rest of the body. However, some of its partners can become overactive, and send an excessive number of signals. The neuron that’s listening will detect this, and release endocannabinoids that tell the other neuron to quiet down. This kind of mechanism helps maintain normal body processes because it helps prevent neurons from sending out too many signals. Additionally, CBD seems to directly affect the receptors called TrpV1, which regulate and detect changes in body temperature. CBD increases the activity of these receptors, causing them to desensitize and shut down the pain sensing nerve endings nearby. With an inability to send pain signals to the brain or a reduction in the activity of the neuron, the person feels pain relief.
CBD products can be a natural way to eliminate or reduce inflammation and pain. It is generally a safe product that has not been found to interact with other medications a person might be taking and is typically not a contraindication for other medical interventions. Why not give it a try, all you have to lose is your pain.
1. Kogan N.M., Mechoulam R. Cannabinoids in health and disease. Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 2007; 9: 413–430. Accessed: Sept 25, 2019 PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/